Heart attack is a very common cause of death. A severe heart attack often results in cardiac arrest. In this case, the heart usually beats very erratically and cannot generate circulation of blood to the body. If a normal heartbeat is not restored within a few minutes, the victim will die.
Automated external defibrillators (AEDs) are designed to diagnose cardiac arrest and, when appropriate, to deliver an electric shock to try to restore a normal heart rhythm. They can be used by people with minimal training.
DAN Asia-Pacific has developed this 4-hour program to train laypersons in the use of AEDs. This is not just an orientation but a thorough and responsible certification program.
It represents entry-level training designed to educate the general diving (and qualified non-diving) public to better recognize the warning signs of Sudden Cardiac Arrest and administer first aid using Basic Life Support techniques and Automated External Defibrillators while activating the local emergency medical services, (EMS) and / or arranging for evacuation to the nearest appropriate medical facility.
The pre-requisite is a CPR certification. If this is required, it can also be done as an additional module prior to the AED course.
- The mean age of divers who die each year in dive fatalities tracked by DAN is gradually increasing. It is now approximately 42 years of age. Divers are getting older, and older people are getting involved in diving.
- Of the 78 dive fatalities in the DAN 2001 Report on Decompression Illness, Diving Fatalities and Project Dive Exploration, based on 1999 fatalities, 7.7 percent of them were caused directly by heart disease. At the same time, heart disease was the direct cause of death for 26 percent of the fatalities involving divers over the age of 35.
- On top of that, 25 percent of divers involved in diving fatalities were also reported to be taking heart medications.
Heart disease is a common problem. To ignore that it affects divers as much as it affects the general population does divers a disservice. When you consider that diving is often done from remote locations – on beaches or off of dive boats – that are far removed from emergency medical help, it is important to prepare for every emergency.